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Pence national security adviser Keith Kellogg: "Trump is no hawk"

Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who currently serves as Vice President Pence's national security adviser, testified to President Trump's "America First" foreign policy accomplishments at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.

The big picture: Speaking from his own experiences as a veteran, Kellogg noted that Trump's military strategy has led to achievements like the destruction of the ISIS caliphate and killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But "make no mistake, President Trump is no hawk," Kellogg added. "He wisely wields the sword when required, but believes in seeking peace instead of perpetual conflict."


What he's saying: "In 1967, at the age of 22, I volunteered to serve my country in Vietnam. From the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of Iraq — I have gone where my nation asked. I have borne witness to soldiers’ last moments on earth, their lives spent in the hope and promise of a better future for all Americans."

  • "I lived service. I understand sacrifice. I know leadership. Over the past three and a half years, I have witnessed every major foreign policy and national security decision by the President. I have been in the room where it happened. I saw only one agenda and one guiding question when tough calls had to be made…is this decision right for America?"
  • "Ask yourself, has this President kept his promises…to keep us out of needless conflicts and to pursue ending wars without end?  Has he defended your interests in renegotiating trade deals that previously hurt Americans and our national security? Has he fulfilled his Commander in Chief role by decisively going after our Nation’s enemies?"

The bottom line: "You and I know, the answer is yes," Kellogg concluded. "The choice is clear. This is the most important election of our lifetimes. The next four years will decide the course of our country for decades to come."

TikTok gets more time (again)

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more time to satisfy its national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to satisfy national security concerns raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

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Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

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Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

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Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the COVID-19 vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

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Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

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CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

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Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

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President of Soros foundation leaves amid speculation of potential Biden role

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

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